Session 2

2–3 P.M.

Highlights of the Collection: A Guided Tour of the Oriental Institute – 2 p.m.

The Oriental Institute Museum is a world-renowned showcase for the history, art, and archaeology of the Ancient Near East. A guide will take you on a one-hour tour focusing on some of the highlights of the collection.

Tour of Carved, Cast, Crumpled at the Smart Museum of Art – 2 p.m.

The immersive exhibition Carved, Cast, Crumpled investigates the essential qualities of three-dimensional art across historical and cultural contexts, questioning what it means to be in the presence of an object. The exhibition is the first in a series of special projects celebrating the Smart Museum of Art’s 40th anniversary. Comprised entirely of three-dimensional works and a handful of drawings by sculptors, it showcases a foundational component of the Museum’s collection, one that can be traced back to the Joel Starrels Jr.

The Aphorism: Condensation and Surprise

The aphorism is a literary-philosophical genre that has had an especially rich tradition in Germany, although it is known, of course, in other literary traditions. Referring to examples by some of the most famous aphorists—the 18th-century scientist Georg Lichtenberg, Goethe, Nietzsche, Elias Canetti, as well as the Rumanien-French writer E. M. Cioran—this presentation will demonstrate the possibilities of this genre and explain the source of its power and fascination.

Poetics Across the Disciplines: Elegies by Ben Jonson and Dylan Thomas

In this session, a panel of faculty members from English, Classics, Comparative Literature, and Creative Writing will discuss Ben Jonson’s “On my First Son” and Dylan Thomas’ “A Refusal to Mourn the Death, by Fire, of a Child in London.” In conversation with the audience, the panel will illustrate how interdisciplinary perspectives in the humanities shed light on two masterpieces of lyric poetry that grapple with grief and the role of elegy.

Theater and Other Social Media

This talk introduces a new project about the intersection of theater and recent social media. Global digital networks are making possible fascinating new performance forms, from collaborative plays written via wikis or Twitter, to the surprise public stunts known as flash mobs, to high-stakes political demonstrations enabled by mobile devices. These new activities pose fascinating questions about the ways social media are changing theater, but also about the inherent theatricality of everyday life in the age of social media. 

The Camera Eye? Movement, Perspective, and Identification in the Cinema

One of the most intuitive beliefs about cinema is that the camera stands in for the viewer’s gaze on the world. This is especially true when the camera is in motion. From cell phone videos to horror films to documentaries to animation, filmmakers have exploited the ways in which we identify with the moving camera. This talk argues that this belief is mistaken but also productive: filmmakers as diverse as Welles, Hitchcock, and Dreyer achieve their unique effects by playing with our desire to occupy the position of the camera.

Arts and Public Life

From John Dewey through Hannah Arendt and Jurgen Habermas, the notion of the public has remained central to a wide variety of debates in the humanities and social sciences. What is a public? How are publics constituted? And, most centrally for our purposes, what role can and do the arts play in the emergence of various kinds of publics? Central to this investigation is the emergence of new concepts of art as “social practice” and new modes of thinking about the public sphere not merely as a kind of space, but as the site of practices and actions.

Divas of Mozart's Day: Arias Made To Measure

Composers and divas both needed to make some complicated calculations when writing—or singing—new material in 1780s Vienna. Is an aria the personal fingerprint of the diva, or a custom-made garment to suit a specific event? We will take a glimpse into the musical lives of five of the greatest divas of 1780s Vienna through arias tailored to their talents by Mozart, Salieri, Martin y Soler, Cimarosa, and others. The presentation will include live and recorded examples.

Contemporary American Memoirs and Classical Fairy Tales

Memoirs and fairy tales are usually considered two different forms of storytelling. Memoirs are about real things, whereas fairy tales are products of the imagination. My presentation will examine a number of contemporary autobiographical writings that reproduce a fairy-tale structure or allude to fairy tales. I will show how the two literary genres relate to each other in our contemporary culture.

From Fratricide to Suicide: Roman Civil War

Fratricide became a conventional way of describing the horror of the American Civil War when brothers were found fighting on opposing sides. The figure, however, is much older. This session will look at Roman figurations of civil war, particularly how conflict within the polity is represented as conflict within the family and is then turned further inward as conflict within the self.


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